Perfect Almond and Cherry Scones with Orange Glaze

There is nothing like a batch of fresh homemade scones, topped with sweet glaze and still warm from the oven. I've made many flavor variations of this traditional English pastry over the years. But this almond and cherry scones recipe, featuring dried tart cherries, buttery vanilla-almond dough, a bright orange glaze and a sprinkle of toasted almonds, is definitely going to be added to my list of "scone MVPs."

Perfect almond and cherry scones with orange glaze.

What Makes These almond and Cherry Scones So "Perfect?"

A perfect breakfast treat. Perfect with your cup of coffee. And perfect for afternoon tea.

  • Flavor: The delicious scones feature a trio of flavors that just work well together: tart cherry, sweet nutty almond, and bright, slightly bitter orange.
  • Texture: Chewy dried cherries contrast with the buttery, flaky and tender scone and the crunchy glazed topping.
  • Easy recipe (promise!): This easy scone recipe, where you just mix, shape, and bake, is actually a great base recipe for countless variations on cherry almond scones (see Ingredients section, below, to get you started!) You can also play with the size and shape of your scones, such as cut them into squares or use a cookie cutter to make rounds.
  • Make them ahead: Leftover scones can be kept at room temperature in an airtight container for 1-2 days after baking. Simply warm them in the oven or for 10-15 seconds in the microwave. Scone dough can be portioned and frozen for up to one month so that you can bake one, two or an entire batch at a time, straight from the freezer!

Almond and cherry scones with orange glaze.

My Top Tips for Making Scones

A few helpful hints to make this easy scone recipe a delicious success

  1. Cut the butter into small pieces: There are multiple ways to achieve this step (and I've tried them all! Click on the links to view recipes where I demonstrate how to use each method.) You can use a food processor to cut in the cold butter. Use a pastry blender or pastry cutter to mix in the butter manually. Use a box grater to shred the butter before adding it to the dough. Or, mix in the pieces with your fingers, as with this recipe. I use them all, depending on how I feel at the time. You just need to find the method that works best for you!
  2. Keep ingredients COLD!: Cold ingredients are important for flaky, layered scones that don't overspread while baking. If you feel like your butter or other ingredients become too warm during the mixing process, place them in the freezer for 10 minutes before proceeding.
  3. Don't overmix the dough: In order to bake flaky, light scones, it is important to not overmix the dough.  You should be able to see smaller pieces of butter in the dough when you cut shapes.  These create "pockets" and layers of dough during the baking process. Use a wooden spoon or clean hands for the final stages of mixing to keep the process gentle.

Ingredients and Special Equipment

Check the recipe card at the bottom of this post for specific quantities.

Ingredients for scones.

Ingredients

  • Dry ingredients: Flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Substitute a reputable gluten-free flour blend for the all-purpose flour to make gluten-free scones.
  • Unsalted butter: As mentioned above in my Top Tips, make sure that your butter is cold throughout the mixing process to ensure flaky scones.
  • Heavy cream: Buttermilk or half and half may be substituted.
  • Orange zest: Change up the flavor profile by using lemon zest instead!
  • Dried cherries: In the middle of cherry season? Fresh cherries may be substituted for dried to make fresh cherry scones. See the FAQ section, below, for tips.
  • Mix-in substitutions: Substitute dried cranberries for the cherries or add chocolate chips to the dough (chocolate and cherry are a winning combo!)
  • Orange juice: Use the juice from the orange you zested for the glaze, or substitute a plain vanilla glaze, instead.
  • Topping substitutions: Instead of glaze, sprinkle turbinado sugar on the scones prior to baking, or give a dusting of powdered sugar over the tops of the scones after they cool.

Special Equipment

  • Parchment paper: A baking tray sprayed with cooking spray or baking spray may be used for baking, but you are more likely to avoid burning the bottoms of your scones by using either parchment paper or "silpats" for liners. Parchment paper is a great investment for your baking recipes and is a tool I use almost every day (and you can't beat the easy clean up!)

Step by Step Photos and Instructions

Prepare the Cherry Scone Dough

  1. Preheat your oven to 400℉. Line two baking sheets/cookie sheets with parchment paper. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
  2. Add the cold butter cubes to the dry ingredients and toss to coat.

3. Using your fingers, rub the cold butter into the flour, until you have pieces that are roughly the size of peas. Some pieces will be bigger than others--that's ok! You just don't want any large pieces of butter remaining, and you are looking for a mixture where the butter is evenly distributed.

4. In a medium bowl, whisk together cream, orange zest, almond extract, and vanilla extract.

5. Add the dried cherries to the flour mixture in the bowl along with the wet ingredients.

6. Gently toss gently the ingredients until a dough begins to form. Mix just until everything is moistened and mostly combined. The mixture will still be in pieces and with bits of butter visible.

7. Transfer the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Divide it into two equal portions and then form each portion into a ¾ inch thick circle. At this point, you can either wrap each disk tightly in plastic wrap and chill or freeze for later, or you can shape and bake the scones.

8. Using a sharp knife, cut each round into eight equal wedges. Carefully transfer each wedge to a parchment-lined baking sheet, spacing apart.

9. Brush the tops of each scone with the egg wash. Bake until scones are golden brown and crusty on top and a tester inserted into center comes out clean, 16-24 minutes (Scones that have been refrigerated will take closer to 20 minutes. Baking time for frozen scones will take closer to 25 minutes.)

10. Remove scones from the oven and cool for 5 minutes on the cookie sheet. Carefully place scones on a wire rack/cooling rack set over paper towels or parchment paper (helpful for catching the glaze!)

Prepare the Orange Glaze

  1. In a small bowl, whisk the confectioner's sugar with enough orange juice to get a smooth glaze that is slightly thick but thin enough to drizzle with a spoon or a wire whisk.
  2. Drizzle the glaze evenly over the scones and then sprinkle with the toasted almonds. You can glaze the scones when they are still warm or completely cooled. Let glaze set at least 5 minutes and enjoy!
Almond and cherry scones with orange glaze.

FAQ and Troubleshooting your Almond and Cherry Scones

Can I substitute fresh fruit for dried fruit in scone recipes?

Fresh fruit can be substituted for dried fruit in a basic scone recipe, but there are a few adjustments that might need to be made. Fresh fruit might add extra moisture to the dough, so adjust the amount of other wet ingredients or add a bit more flour to compensate for this and avoid an overly sticky dough. When blending the fresh fruit into your dough, mix gently so as not to bruise the fruit and make the colors bleed into the dough.

Why did my scones spread so much while baking?

If your scones spread in the oven, chance are that your oven temperature was too low or your ingredient temperatures were too high. Warm or softened butter can cause the scones to spread before they set in the oven. Make sure your ingredients are chilled. If the oven temperature is too low, the butter in the dough might melt before the scones have a chance to set, causing them to spread.

Why are my scones dense?

Here are some potential reason why you might end up with tough scones instead of flaky scones:
1. Overworked dough: Handling the dough as little as possible and avoid overmixing and overdeveloped gluten.
2. Incorrect measurements: Too much flour or too little liquid can make dough heavy.
3. Wrong fat temperature: When incorporating butter into the dough, it should be cold. If it's too warm or melted, it can lead to a denser texture.
4. Overbaking: Scones become dense if they are left in the oven for too long. Remove them once they're golden brown on the outside.

Almond and cherry scones.

I love making Fresh Scones (In case you haven't Noticed!) Check out some more of my Other Favorite Flavors

Almond Cherry Scones with Orange Glaze.

Perfect Almond and Cherry Scones with Orange Glaze

Julie Hession
These fluffy and buttery cream scones are enhanced with tart dried cherries, toasted almonds, and a sweet orange glaze, three flavors that complement each other beautifully. They can be shaped and chilled in advance and then baked first thing in the morning....or in the afternoon for a special treat.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 22 minutes
Servings 16 scones
Calories 283 kcal
5 from 3 votes
Print Recipe Pin Recipe

Equipment

  • 2 baking sheets lined with parchment paper (see Notes)
  • pastry brush

Ingredients
 
 

Scone Dough

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • cup granulated sugar
  • tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 sticks very cold unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 large orange, zested
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup tart dried cherries
  • 1 large egg mixed with 1 tablespoon cream (for egg wash)

Orange Glaze

  • cups confectioner's sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoon orange juice (use the orange you zested)
  • ¾ cup sliced almonds, toasted

Instructions
 

Prepare the scone dough

  • Preheat your oven to 400℉. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
  • Add the cold butter cubes to the dry ingredients and toss to coat.
  • Using your fingers, rub the cold butter into the flour, until you have pieces that are roughly the size of peas. Some pieces will be bigger than others--that's ok! You just don't want any large pieces of butter remaining, and you are looking for a mixture where the butter is evenly distributed.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together cream, orange zest, almond extract, and vanilla extract.
  • Add the dried cherries to the flour mixture in the bowl along with the wet ingredients.
  • Gently toss gently the ingredients until a dough begins to form. Mix just until everything is moistened and mostly combined. The mixture will still be in pieces and with bits of butter visible.
  • Transfer the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Divide it into two equal portions and then form each portion into a flat disk, about ¾-inch thick. At this point, you can either wrap each disk tightly in plastic wrap and chill or freeze for later (see Notes), or you can shape and bake the scones.
  • Using a sharp knife, cut each round into eight equal wedges. Carefully transfer each wedge to the prepared baking sheet(s), spacing apart.
  • Brush the tops of each scone with the egg wash. Bake until scones are crusty on top and a tester inserted into center comes out clean, 16-24 minutes (Scones that have been refrigerated will take closer to 20 minutes. Frozen scones will take closer to 25 minutes.)
  • Remove scones from the oven and cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet. Carefully transfer the scones to a wire rack set over paper towels or parchment paper (helpful for catching the glaze!)

Prepare Orange Glaze

  • In a small bowl, whisk the confectioner's sugar with enough orange juice to get a smooth glaze that is slightly thick but thin enough to drizzle with a spoon or a wire whisk.
  • Drizzle the glaze evenly over the scones and then sprinkle with the toasted almonds. You can glaze the scones when they are still warm or completely cooled. Let glaze set at least 5 minutes and enjoy!

Notes

  • The entire batch of scones can fit on a larger sized baking sheet, but you can space them out more by using two standard baking sheets.  Place the pans in the lower and upper thirds of the oven and switch positions halfway through the baking process. 
  • Scone dough can be tightly wrapped and frozen for up to one month.  Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before cutting into wedges and baking.  You can also pre-cut the dough into wedges and freeze it that way.  Bake the scones one at a time or by the batch, straight from the freezer. 
  • Dough can be shaped and refrigerated overnight before baking. 

Nutrition

Calories: 283kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0.5g | Cholesterol: 59mg | Sodium: 293mg | Potassium: 48mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 857IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 92mg | Iron: 1mg
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2 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    These sound wonderful! I love the combination of lemon and cherry. Well, I just love lemon in general!

    Good luck at the competition!

  2. 5 stars
    Best of luck at Cornbread Julie! I don't know how I missed that you were going. You'll love the little small town, everyone is so nice. Have fun!

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